Heather Blackall is the President and CEO of Ocean’s Daughter Conservation Alliance. She is the reigning International Conservation Mermaid, and was crowned the official Mermaid of Gasparilla in 2016. She has a PhD in Biochemistry, and a Master’s in veterinary medicine. Her primary research areas revolve around animal assisted therapy, particularly psychoneuroimmunology of dolphins. Other passions include social learning theory of killer whales, crocodilian behavior, and shark DNA studies. For 2017, her primary area of focus is on getting girls involved with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), and getting them excited about ocean conservation and research.